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Strange mix this season


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I mostly fish off the beaches on the Central Coast and have been noticing that this year it’s a very different mix of fish out there. The usual suspects bream, flathead and whiting are almost completely absent from catches - in fact I’ve only caught one flathead off the beach all summer and none of the other two. This season it’s dart, salmon and shovel nose rays making up the majority. Last two trips I caught shovelnoses and nothing else. I even tried fishing with a berley cage clipped to the line and it came back in all squashed and with the fish sucked out. I think a shovelnose grabbed it and just munched on it without swimming off or me even realising - so we can add that to their list of annoying traits.

Have other people been noticing this ?

Anyway, for the last couple of trips I’ve attached a camera to the line at the end of the session and cast it out - which I often do to see what is around.  I put some clips together in the video below. FYI: the second to last fish is a numb ray and the last one is a rat king.

How often is it that when things are quiet you ask yourself ‘are there even any fish out there?’. The answer is the bait rarely sits for long without something paying attention, even if it doesn’t result in bites - and the variety is a constant surprise.

Sorry the video is so chaotic. Casting out a camera in surf like we’ve had for the last couple of weeks is like chucking a camera into a washing machine. Never will be any different.



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39 minutes ago, big Neil said:

Definitely none of your "normal" species in that footage. Is this something which has occurred this Summer but not other Summers? No problem with fish numbers overall. Do you have any theories on the situation? bn

In previous summers bream has been the dominant fish I see landed. Also lots of flathead. 

In high summer salmon are around but usually in small numbers.

not sure about fish numbers overall. 

I think every season is different due to winds and currents and temperatures - but it just seems to be at an extreme this year.

There is a lot of baitfish in close at the moment., which may explain the salmon. 

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Great footage and as a fellow surf fisherman, very interesting to watch.

There's still good catches of bream, flathead and whiting down here, but although we've had our share, we've had a lot less rain on the south coast than you have. I wonder if that has anything to do with it?

Any size to the dart? We only get small ones, but stacks of them. Funny thing is, 20 years ago, they were unheard of here.

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A smaller hook and some worms for bait and you would have caught plenty of those pesky Dart. I have also noticed a lot of small baitfish in the surf gutters this year, and plenty of small Tailor and Salmon (which are more winter species for me) Whiting are going OK, but there's still plenty in Lake Illawarra, where they are usually a bit slow this time of the year. Never get many Flathead off the beach, except those tiny ones smaller than your hook.....but then, I only use worms for bait, maybe that's why?

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53 minutes ago, noelm said:

Never get many Flathead off the beach, except those tiny ones smaller than your hook.....but then, I only use worms for bait, maybe that's why?

I get flatties down south of the beach and they will take anything I throw at them. Fish can be unpredictable sometimes.

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